Book Review: Into The Hollow

Title: Into The Hollow

Author: Lynn Vroman

Format: Ebook (courtesy Netgalley advance read)

Published: 2018

Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read Into The Hollow before its release date of November 6, 2018 (my birthday)!

This young adult novel is set in the town of Poplar Branch, West Virginia, in the holler.  We meet Freedom Paine, 17, who is living in a shack with her younger brother and father.  Neither Free nor her brother attend school or have any friends (in fact, it’s not allowed, it’s almost as if they are in hiding).  Her father goes out and tries to scheme money where he can and is promising them a better life.  There is so much mystery to her living situation and how her mother died. As the book progresses, we start to learn more and more.

We also meet Cole, a senior in high school.  He has been sucked in to the holler life and is desperate to get himself out of there.  His father and brother are in jail, his sister is a high school dropout with a child, and his mother is a junkie.  Freedom catches Cole’s eye and eventually they end up working together at the same grocery store.  They bond over being able to both take home stale food to fill their bare cupboards until Free’s father forbids her to see him anymore.

The characters develop as the story is told.  I also could not help but read this story in my head with a very Southern twang.  It sucked me in and I had to get to the bottom of every situation.  Fair warning, I cried ugly tears twice in this book.

Free’s dad gets involved in a sticky situation and ends up seriously injured.  Free turns to Cole for help and essentially her world falls apart.  Once Freedom has to seek medical attention for her father, the police get involved because there are 2 minor children he has been caring for.  I can’t say much more without ruining the book.  Just know Cole is her constant and is there for her, always waiting, always willing.  It turns out though, Cole needed Freedom just as much as she needed him.  I don’t think I could written a better ending to the journey that Cole and Freedom end up taking together.  I will say there is light for them at the end of the holler.

I am giving this book 4 stars.  It is a solid, fantastic read.  The character development is spot on and the way the story gives us bits and pieces into Cole’s and Free’s lives is delectable.  The author makes you feel like you are about to go on a soul crushing ride when at the right moment she picks you up and leaves you with a smile.  Absolutely terrific read.  Once I got into part 2 I could barely put the book down.  Don’t let the category of young adult fool you, this is a great read for anyone of any age.  Tune in next week for my review of We Were Mothers by Katie Sise!

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Book Review: Lifeline

Title: Lifeline

Author: Abbey Lee Nash

Format: Kindle Edition

Published: 2018

 

Thank you to Hidden Gems for the free copy of Lifeline in exchange for my honest book review!

What a solid read. This book takes us on the journey of a popular high school jock, Eli, who thinks he is untouchable.  He’s the lacrosse captain with the hot girlfriend and thinks he can use drugs whenever he chooses and can stop whenever…then he overdoses and loses everything.  This story takes us on his journey in rehab.

At first, he annoys the crap out of me because he’s being an idiot and not taking anything seriously.  As his time in rehab grows, so does he and I think it really shows how in denial you can be that you have a problem.  This would be an amazing read for any teenager to see it through a teen’s perspective on drug use.

I felt that this book was realistic and did not try and sugar coat anything.  Eli was essentially forced to go to rehab or be faced with crazy charges against him.  As his story plays out over 28 days, I can only imagine how hard it would truly be, especially for someone who does not think they have a problem.  We also learn how Eli’s past led him to where he is today and what he needs to do in order to achieve a better life.

I am sure that there are many teens out there where this is their life and maybe reading this book could help someone.  Even if you aren’t a teenager this book is still enjoyable.  It was very satisfying and I enjoyed how the story played out (even if it bugged the crap outta me in the beginning, however, it gave time for the character to grow).  I felt this book was real and honestly, wouldn’t be bad as required book for young minds to read.  You won’t regret picking this up to read!

I am giving this book 4 stars.  I enjoyed journey Eli went on and enjoyed the friends he made while in rehab.  There were some very tough times, especially when they left the facility, and the fact that those are brought to light shows extensive knowledge on the subject matter at hand.  Abbey Lee Nash did a remarkable job with her penmanship showing how addiction is a disease, life long struggle, and how it ultimately affects everyone around you.  Very powerful.  Tune in next week for my review of a Kindle Single, The Victim’s Club, by Jeffery Deaver.

Book Review: To All The Boys I’ve Love Before Trilogy

Title: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, P.S. I Still Love You, & Always and Forever, Lara Jean

Author: Jenny Han

Format: Kindle Edition

Published: 2014, 2015, 2017

 

I read this, ok, these books because the movie is now out on Netflix.  I love reading a book and then watching the movie, but, I don’t know if I want to taint this series with the movie quite yet.  This was SUCH a GREAT and AMAZING series.  Let me just begin by saying that if I read To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before when it first came out I would be so mad at Jenny Han.  The lesson to take away here is you don’t read her books if they are part of a series until they’re all out!

I read all three books in a matter of three days.  Yes, they were that good.

Lara Jean is a high school junior who is a tad bit quirky.  As a teenage girl she as multiple crushes during her middle school and high school years and when she gets over them, she writes them a letter.  Lara Jean keeps these letters hidden in a hat box until one day when her younger sister mails them out.  Whoops.

The big blunder is that she once had a crush on her neighbor, the neighbor her sister was dating.  So she enlists the help of another former crush so her neighbor does not suspect she still likes him.  So now Lara Jean is pretending to date the great Peter Kavinsky (who just broke up with one of the most popular girls at school).  They make a contract which lets both Peter and Lara Jean know what they are supposed to do for each other (Peter must write Lara Jean one note a day, Lara Jean must call Peter at least once a day, preferably her last call of the night, Lara Jean must go to Peter’s lacrosse games, etc).  Peter decides to go for it so maybe he can make his ex-girlfriend jealous.

I know what you are assuming, they fall in love, but, I won’t tell you if they do or don’t.  I will tell you that at the end of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before Lara Jean and Peter have a falling out and the book ends with Lara Jean writing him a letter.  Yes, it literally ends with, “Dear Peter.”  Oh, the cliffhanger!  You will be so hooked you will have to finish all three of the books.  P.S. I Still Love You takes us through the end of Lara Jean’s junior year and the start of her senior year (and finishes that letter!!!).  Always & Forever, Lara Jean takes us through the remainder of her senior year and the beginning of college.

Through the journey of these books her past crushes make appearances.  It appears that each of her crushes also had a little thing for Lara Jean too.  Some try to make moves and become an item with Lara Jean and some will fail.  One will succeed.  Which one will that be?  Read them all to find out!  We also go on a journey with her father, a widow, and a new love that Lara Jean’s younger sister sets him up with.

This is a 5-star book series.  It was such a fun and light read.  I forget how much I can love young adult novels.  The ending was very satisfying and I felt like it left us at a good place with Lara Jean.  Take my word for it when I say to buy all three books before you start reading one.  Tune in next week for my review of The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand.

Book Review: Sadie

Title: Sadie

Author: Courtney Summers

Format: Advance Readers’ Edition Paperback

Published: 2018

 

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and Wednesday Books for the advance readers’ copy of Sadie! This book is officially on sale everywhere on September 4, 2018!

If I am brutally honest, this book came with a lot of hype and I felt let down.  The book started out slow, but, picked up.  The ending fell flat and just left me disappointed that I stayed up late to finish the book.

Meet Sadie.  She’s a high school dropout who decides to run away from home to kill the man that killed her thirteen-year-old little sister.  Their mother walked out on them, leaving Sadie to raise herself and her sister, Mattie.

Their foster grandmother, May Beth, calls West McCray as she was told he was someone who may give a damn about Sadie.  McCray runs a Podcast and decides to do a bit on Sadie and Mattie called The Girls.  The book goes between his podcasts and what he is uncovering and then Sadie telling us where her road trip is taking her.

Sadie knows all along who killed her sister, she is just on a mission to find him and kill him herself.  It takes us awhile to figure out who the killer is but eventually Sadie clues us in.  She goes on a journey across the country and does a better job at finding this person than the police ever could (if they knew or had a lead with who committed the crime).  In fact, it’s the lack of faith in the police for the reason why May Beth calls McCray in the first place.

It is a very real and sad story.  I felt for Sadie and wanted her to be successful on her journey.  I did feel some parts of the story came out of nowhere.  There is a scene with McCray interviewing Javi, a boy she met on her road trip, and what he says just didn’t seem to fit into Sadie’s description of what happened.  How the timing came in to play I don’t know.  I guess we would assume she just left that part out, but, it felt off.

I am giving this book 3 stars.  I am a fan of books with a solid ending and this left with me questions.  I don’t like to assume endings and this is one of those books.  If that’s your cup of tea, you will love this book and probably rate it 5 stars and call me crazy.  I guess you could call the ending a realistic missing person’s case ending, however, this is a work of fiction and darn it, I want answers!  Tune in next Thursday for my review of Vegas Girls by Heather Skyler!

Book Review: The Kissing Booth

Title: The Kissing Booth

Author: Beth Reekles

Format: Kindle E-Book

Published: 2013

How does one plan for over 13 hours on an airplane?  Sleep would have been a great choice; however, I can never fall asleep on a plane.  Before I left for my magical, amazing, Mediterranean cruise vacation I was seeing a lot of ruckus over a new Netflix original movie, The Kissing Booth.  After I looked into it I discovered it was based off of a book written by a 15-year-old girl (yes, just 15 years old!!!!) and was getting rave reviews.  I wanted to join the party (and I love reading books and then watching the movie) so I downloaded the movie to my phone and the book to my Kindle and off to Rome I flew!

The Kissing Booth took me back to high school when I would day dream about how I would talk to my crush and what would happen.  As a high school student, your imagination can go crazy and think of some unrealistic situations.  I felt this is how the book went.  You could tell it was written by a teenager.

The story takes us on a journey with Elle and her best friend Lee, two popular high school students.  They have been inseparable for years and are essentially twins (both have the same birthday).  Lee has an older brother, Noah, and he and Elle have a love hate relationship at least until the school carnival.  Elle and Lee have come up with the fundraising idea of a kissing booth and somehow Elle and Noah end up kissing.  What happens now?  Well Noah is the hot, older brother with a player reputation so let your old teenage mind take that where you want it to.  Don’t forget to include drinking and sex in your thoughts!

I will say they hide their relationship (ut oh) and when Lee finds out, drama alert.  I didn’t particularly care for this part of the book.  It felt rushed and the characters just did their own thing immediately.  I felt like it was missing a lot of substance during this part and I could not understand why Elle and Noah had an issue with each other.  It got awkward.  But as any teenage dream prevails, they’re all awkward.  How does this all end?  Well, you’ll have to read it to find out.

Immediately after I finished the book I watched the movie.  I wasn’t too choked up over the book until I saw the movie.  Woah.  It made me appreciate the book a lot more.  Maybe if I was a teenager I would be going crazy over both, but, I’m not.  I will say though for a 15-year-old girl, it was written nicely.  A little farfetched, but, it’s what teenagers day dream about and she put it into words decently.

Overall, I am giving The Kissing Booth a rating of a 3.  If you stumble across this book go ahead and read it, but, I wouldn’t go out of my way to. I’m going to recommend you not watch the movie.  It follows the book along for the most part, but, I didn’t like how Elle was portrayed in the movie as opposed to the book.  If you have read the book and/or seen the movie I would LOVE to hear your thoughts!!  Come back next week for my review of Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage!

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